Your child will blend individual letter sounds to read words as they move their body for each sound.
Begin by choosing an inside space or an outside space. If you will do this activity inside, make sure you have at least a 6’ x 5’ space cleared of obstacles. Choose a word list from Tips. Write each letter in lowercase on a separate sheet of paper, large enough so that it fills the page.
Secure the letter cards to the floor from left to right (see the photo example) or write each letter with sidewalk chalk on the pavement if you are outside. Leave about one foot of space between each letter. Write letter combinations that make one sound, like ck in the word neck, on one piece of paper.
Position your child behind you so they can face the word with you. Explain and demonstrate the activity. “You are going to read some words today using some dance steps. You will hop into the word like this when you say the first sound (hop one time) and slide like this for all the other sounds (step to the right and slide your left foot to meet your right foot).” Look over your shoulder and say, “Try it with me. Hop one time. Slide to the right. Slide to the right.”
Place or write the letters for the first word (example: man). Position yourself just to the left of the first letter. “I’ll show you how I hop and slide to sound out and read a word, and then you’ll try it. I will keep saying each sound almost like I’m singing it until I move my right foot to the next letter. Watch! We hop in front of the first letter and start saying the sound, /mmm/.” Keep saying the sound until you take a step with your right foot under the letter a and say, “/aaa/” (as in apple). Continue making the /a/ sound as you slide your left foot to meet your right. Next, slide to the letter n. As your right foot steps in front of the n, start saying “/nnn/” and keep saying the /n/ sound until your left foot slides to meet your right foot.
Quickly go back to the beginning and do it a little faster, /mmm/…/aaa/…/nnn/. Last, point back to the first letter and sweep your hand across the word as you read it, “man!”
Then have your child try. Be sure that your child is not standing on the letters so that they can see them well. Encourage your child to say the sounds slow and smooth at first, and then more quickly as they repeat the routine. If your child is looking at you instead of the letters, remind them to look at the letters in the word.
Repeat with the next word in the list you chose. You will only need to replace one letter card at a time as you work from the first to the last word in the list.